Monday, November 10, 2008

Werehog Week

Well, this was a rather unexpected week.
Before the update last week, a picture got out (via ebay) of the Werehog figure by Jazwares. It had JUST been announced on the site that they were going to be doing one. Whenever something like that comes out, I always think 'oh well 3mo...' but, not so. I was thinking the first peek at it would be in Toyfare magazine in the US, but Toys R Us did everyone 1 better and released the thing.

Supposedly, it was to be released with the game itself (ie around the 20th Nov.) but since it's a TRU exclusive, they just did with it whatever they wanted, meaning TRUs near the dist. site got it first (hence the extortionate ebayers able to get away with it) while everyone else in the US had to wait a few days, calling up their stores for it to come in.

With no less than 10 mails about it in the inbox, there was no choice but to do the full review/page for the figure this week. Certainly, it is timely. Used photos from everyone possible (counting out blurry ones, item filled ones, glare ones and hands in the way ones) and then supplemented with my own photos and info after getting the actual figure for a real hands-on.

Again, it reinforces the need for good fansites.
NOTHING will sub for a real hands-on review by a consumer. Also, it is a huge help to publish UPCs / SKUs to allow people to force stores to look up the item. Wait, force them? Yes. A lot of 'big chain' stores don't seem to care about actually making money. They forgot that what works is 'do everything you can to get whoever it is to come in and spend their money'. Was I on hold for a total of 17 minutes when calling TRU 2 times over this figure? Absolutely. Did they forget me in their phone? Yeah. Did they not really want to look him up? Yeah. Am I going to go 20 miles without knowing it's there in advance? Hellz no.

It doesn't matter if it's Sonic or not, fansites can really get the info out there, if they're run properly...and aided by real fans! It often takes a network of enthusiasts to get things really running well.

So, the bigness of the page kind of put everything else on hold. Just a few other items were sprinkled around, and the mail never got completed. But really, for all the buzz on this guy, it was well worth it. However...speaking of buzz, it seems WAY WAY disproportionate to anything TI did, even though one of their lines was exceptional. Why is this single figure going through the roof when there are supposed to be tons of fans of regular Sonic/Shadow/Knuckles whatever? Where was all this hype during the full set character releases?
The world may never know.
It could be timing, it could be because it's going along with a game, it could be because the 'werehog' is this new unseen untested thing. Any number of things.

Curiosity vs werehog:
It got mentioned on the page. WHERE IS SUPER SONIC? I'll say it again. People have been obsessed over Super Sonic for ages. His plush commands top dollar. Similarly the few tiny goods with him on it. Super Sonic appears in multiple games, looks cool, and is likely to turn up again. So they can do this one 'wacky' special form yet no one ever manages to do a Super Sonic? WTH? Seriously now.

Werehog is a 1off.
Do you think that Sonic Unleashed the game can be beaten? Do you think that Sonic can save the world if you get the good ending? If so, then "that's the last of the werehog". The werehog is a DEFECT, it's a disease, it's a problem he has to work through. Sonic's goal is get back to normal, restore the emeralds, and beat down the pink thing while defeating the bad Egg once again. It's highly likely he'll be 'cured' of it when he does whatever's necisary in the game.

I'm just saying that while hype-ey, a 1 shot mutation getting a fab figure over something as in demand and recurrant as Super Sonic just seems a little wierd.

But was it the right choice?
Judging by the reaction online? Absolutely. For all the whining, complaining and anti-sega hatred going on when this form was introduced, you'd never guess it all went down when this chunk o plastic showed up on the scene. "werehog is a gimmick" "leave Sonic alone" "bring back classic Sonic fun" "enough with the sh*** character extras" "dumbest. concept. ever." "AND it's stretchy? too retarded" "The games gonna suck, werehog ruins everything"

The bottom line:
Only once the game is released will anything really get solved. Certainly the figure is going to help hype the game up/and the other way around. But it's the game itself that's going to prove if the werehog form is a mistake or a bonus. Everything boils down to gameplay in the end.
I don't like the werehog. The figure is great, it's accurate, well done, quality sculpt, good paint, blah blah. I hate the concept though! Every time something slows down Sonic everyone stops having fun. 3D blast anyone? No. Also, werewolves are played out. It's a cliche that doesn't belong in a main title like this. Sonic is cool, he is fast, he looks cool, he acts cool. Werehog looks dumb, acts brutish, and isn't fast.
I can't let that kind of thing get in the way of doing real reviews, accurate shots and bringing in the news for real. So I don't. It may turn out to be totally righteous in the gameplay, but that's not going to ever make me like the design or the concept. However, the bias can't be carried over onto SonicGear because like it or not, the thing's cannon now...